The Beginning…

10 Dec

I laid eyes on this guy for the first time 13 years ago tonight. And from that instant, nothing was ever, ever the same. ❤

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So, many of you already know the story of how we met, but I realized when we were celebrating our wedding anniversary this past July that there are alot of you who don’t because I had several people reach out to ask. So I figured I’d take a quick second to give you our little backstory today in honor of this little day we celebrate each and every year!

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It was around Halloween 2003. I take that back, let me back up even further. Christmas of 2002. I went to church that Christmas Eve with my grandmother. A week or so later, I got an email from a guy who had sat behind us at the service and then asked my grandmother for my email address. We’ll call him Robert (*name changed). Over the next year, we developed a nice little friendship- I was in grad school in Columbia and he was finishing up his undergrad at The Citadel in Charleston. We saw each other a few times here and there when I’d visit home, but for the most part, we were modern pen pals and phone chatters. Yep, these were the days of AIM, Instant Messaging, etc.

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Now back to Halloween 2003. So it had been about 10 months since we first met and he called me one day to say that his computer was in the shop, but that he’d be using his roommate, John’s, in the meantime. He said that if I ever saw ‘John’ online to be sure to ask if it was actually Robert, or at least if Robert was in the room so we could chat. So that’s what I did. Plenty of times over the next week or two, I asked for Robert and was always told he wasn’t there. By about the 10th of these exchanges, John started getting snitty and finally said something along the lines of, ‘You know, you could at least say hello to me or something. I’m not just Robert’s babysitter.’ Well, hello. Y’all know I like me some directness! Ha!

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For the next few days, I did just that- I’d log on just to joke, ‘Hi, John!! Sure hope this is you!’ To which he’d reply similarly with quick wit and pretty soon, some great charm…and swag ;). We genuinely looked forward to chatting online, sometimes in between his classes, sometimes over my lunch break (I was back in Charleston working at an ad agency by this point), but mostly in the evenings when we had more free time. We talked about any and everything- school, work, sports, music, our families, past relationships…and current ones. Yep, John was engaged- he’d been dating Annie (*name changed) for nearly three years and had proposed earlier that summer. But it was a moot point- we were strictly friends and it never crossed either of our minds otherwise. Heck, we hadn’t even seen each other! We had no clue what the other even looked like! (And this was before the days of iphones and selfies and having pictures of yourself at your fingertips!) We were truly just great friends, online at least.

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Well, the week of his final exams- the one before he’d head home to Kentucky for the holidays- he messaged me that we should meet. Just to put faces with names and to have a full conversation without having to type it all out! For me, it was like that scene out of ‘You’ve Got Mail’ where Tom Hanks suggests this to Meg Ryan and she’s like, ‘Wait, what?! What do I do?’ Ultimately, I decided, what could it hurt? Friends have dinner all the time, right? Since he’d only have a few hours away from school, we decided for me to meet him at his friend’s apartment in West Ashley and grab some dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant. I can’t even begin to tell you how nervous I was walking up to that apartment door, all the while telling myself that I was being completely ridiculous because A) he could be hot, but he’s engaged and we’re friends or B) he’s not hot and we’re friends. Win-win, right?

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When we reminisce now, one moment that we both always go back to is the moment when I knocked and he opened the door. It’s etched in our minds forever- what we were wearing, the way we smelled, the feel of our hug hello…And the complete absence of any awkwardness whatsoever. We had known each other our whole lives. It sure felt that way.

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Dinner was delicious and easy and full of laughter. Saying goodbye was the first time it was a bit awkward- we both hated the night was ending and were already looking forward to hanging out again soon. I called my mom on the drive home to tell her how well it had gone- and how sad I was that we hadn’t met sooner- that he was something special. The next day, there’s another moment that’ll forever be etched in my mind. I was pulling into Kinko’s downtown Charleston to pick up an order for work when my phone rang. As soon as I answered, John, in one long run on sentence, blurted out, ‘I just broke up with Annie, I’m completely single, I haven’t stopped thinking about you and I’d like to see you again- tonight if you’re good with something quick because I’ll only have a few hours again.’

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We had three nights in a row that week of the most amazing times together, not doing anything fancy or noteworthy- one just being together eating McDonald’s sitting by the river. It was perfect. That weekend, I headed for New York City with my mom for a girls’ trip to celebrate my grad school graduation. We had the BEST time and it will always be considered one of my favorite trips. Such beautiful memories. Sure, I was a bit nervous about how being away for 5 days would affect this new budding ‘whatever-it-was,’ but y’all know that I’m a big believer in things working out the way they’re supposed to and this was no different. If we were meant to be together, we would be. John called me every single night I was away and my doubts were quickly gone. On the plane ride home, I told my mom, who still hadn’t so much as met him!, that he was it. That I would marry him.

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Coming out of the concourse in Charleston, there was my dad waiting to pick us up. And there was John beside him, surprising me. He said that introducing himself to my dad solo in the airport was easier than having to wait the extra day to see me.<3 We spent the rest of the Christmas season falling in love. It’s still ‘our season.’ Sure, there was some opposition when all his friends came back to school in January- was I a rebound girl for John (turns out John had already postponed their wedding indefinitely and had felt pressured to get engaged in the first place)? had I known that Robert had actually liked me as more than a friend (I had no clue)? did John not care that Robert had liked me (no, he didn’t)? But none of that mattered. After that first month (although technically closer to three months considering that we’d talked an awful lot before even laying eyes on each other!), there was nothing in the world that could’ve shaken us. It was ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Ours is what books are written about.

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John proposed two months later, in March, on the Waterfront Park pier, and we were married that July. So just like I’ve said before- when you know, you know. And when it’s right, it’s really, really great. No, neither of us is perfect and our relationship certainly hasn’t been without its challenges and sacrifices and growing pains- we are human, duh- but that moment of him opening the door at his friend’s apartment- dressed in a yellow button up shirt and jeans that fit just right- was the turning point in our lives. It changed everything. It MADE everything. ❤

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Here’s to one of the greatest nights of my entire life…

 

2 Responses to “The Beginning…”

  1. Eleanor December 10, 2016 at 10:56 PM #

    It is always fun to hear that great story again. A perfect courtship, a beautiful wedding and reception, lots of fun experiences thru the years and now a fantastic daughter! You are blessed!

  2. Robin December 10, 2016 at 9:33 PM #

    A true love story.

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